Author Topic: Richard Barrett’s Barracks  (Read 557 times)

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Online Mandryka

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Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« on: February 07, 2020, 10:38:34 PM »
Just a little place to put anything to do with this interesting composer of experimental music.

I was inspired to start it because I just discovered a complete performance of I open and close on  soundcloud, mediocre sound but it’s a masterpiece IMO, so best not to complain. There does seem to be about 10 minutes of it on a recording from Neos, but as far as I can see nothing else.

Richard Barrett’s notes for it are also online, here

http://richardbarrettmusic.com/I%20open%20and%20close.htm

Music here

https://soundcloud.com/r-barrett/i-open
« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 02:11:58 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2020, 02:16:46 AM »



The heart of this CD is a really sensuous, gorgeous, piece of music, called (for reasons to do with its construction - not very interesting to me) Negatives. It is, maybe surprisingly, designed to have a narrative content

Quote
the primary image for the cycle is that of voyages over landscapes – landscapes in which geological features predominate, though not to the exclusion of flora, fauna or civilization.


Delta emblematically starts ex nihilo, with a fragmentary, one-note opening that splits up into tributaries; the sitar and angklung are used not to evoke exotic deltaic regions, but to effect an immediate removal from ‘normal’ new music instrumentations. In colloid-E (the E-suffix denotes the ensemble version of a piece, which can also be performed as a solo) the solo 10-string guitar presents a sort of viscous, part-granular fluid, scanned at the highest possible magnification, as if through an acoustic microscope, while in archipelago the solo mandolin is a traveller drifting past seemingly randomly disposed ensemble ‘islands’.

After the elegance of archipelago, basalt-E, whose solo trombone part is a drastic extension of the independence of mouth and slide introduced at the end of EARTH, adopts a deliberately rough-hewn, ‘earthy’ approach. Finally, entstellt is partly conceived as a traveller’s return to the point of departure, only to find that it has become a ruin (and indeed the piece incorporates elements from a so-far incomplete piece called ruin). In each of entstellt’s nine sections – separated by 15-second pauses – there is a gradual erasure of pitch content – a sort of excavation to uncover part of delta’s framework; one by one, the instruments pick up unpitched percussion instruments, until only the piccolo and cello are left, defiant, but deserted and disorientated.


Anyway, it seems to me instantly accessible, conceived on a scale which fits into a living room, and full of interesting ideas.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2020, 04:51:31 AM »
You might be interested in a short profile on Barrett I put on my blog.  I normally conduct an interview, but when I contacted Mr. Barrett for the interview, he was too busy, but did not want to refuse entirely.  He suggested that he’d spoken or written about the issues raised by my questions previously and allowed me to find suitable quotes on his website to serve as his answers.



Richard Barrett : creating meaningful alternatives to what we hear around us
« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 04:53:42 AM by San Antone »

Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2020, 09:54:13 AM »
Thanks for that, you’re making an interesting website there.

Richard Barrett in his writings seems very modest to me, almost funny, I really enjoyed this comment he makes in the essay on Dark Matter


Quote
This idea evolved out of my view of composition as a means to explore the ‘structure of the imagination’ and perhaps to discover something about its nature (in a way which might be inaccessible to scientific method) – in other words, could one perceive unsuspected truths hidden in the interstices of the complex web of ideas, associations and evolutions which are the substructure of such a work (and also a physical substructure of the mind which ‘produced’ them)? and could they be rendered communicable through the medium of sound/form? Unlikely, would be a reasonable answer. Should we be concerned with what is reasonable? Is it not possible that even such a project might at least give access to musical results which might not have been possible otherwise? Is this the real ‘matter’ at hand?

 

That combination of self mockery and big ideas makes him sound a very sympathetic person to me.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2020, 10:27:14 AM »
I've been listening to this

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/SzF8JlrzDRA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/SzF8JlrzDRA</a>

trying to make sense of the composer's own conception of what he's up to

Quote
. . . my view of composition as a means to explore the ‘structure of the imagination’ and perhaps to discover something about its nature (in a way which might be inaccessible to scientific method) – in other words, could one perceive unsuspected truths hidden in the interstices of the complex web of ideas, associations and evolutions which are the substructure of such a work (and also a physical substructure of the mind which ‘produced’ them)? and could they be rendered communicable through the medium of sound/form?

By the way, in the notes to Khasma Barrett tells us that he was inspired by some ancient quasi-platonic ideas " the universe’s eternal unchangingness" and "‘upon those that step into the same rivers different and different waters flow"

The idea seems to be about communication and elucidation.  We're being asked to envisage a composer with a rich imaginative life, so rich that some of it is obscure even to himself. Contemplation of various texts prompts him to put together sounds in a certain way, and create Khasma, for example. His hope is that listening to his creation will help him elucidate the nature of his own inner life, and will allow a listener to access that inner world.

This seems to be a sort of egocentric romanticism. The composer has a privileged inner life which is special enough to share  . . . Beethoven reborn. As soon as you say it you see how dubious it is. This is the modern world, we don't have heros any more, we don't believe in gurus, in the enlightened ones.

Oh no . . . . kill me now.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 10:30:09 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2020, 11:39:54 PM »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2020, 04:48:14 AM »
Richard Toop’s Four Facets of “The New Complexity” This seems as good a place to put it as any

https://www.academia.edu/887987/Four_facets_of_the_New_Complexity
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2020, 08:43:22 AM »
Richard Barrett's Close up

https://livestream.com/uol/events/8038731/videos/171315780

Some information here

https://www.city.ac.uk/events/2018/march/richard-barrett

In the book he says it was inspired by a sort of polyphony he discovered in Stockhausen's Licht, which he calls a polyphony of time levels. But I don't understand what he's saying.



« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 08:58:22 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2020, 02:55:14 AM »
Richard Barrett's Close up

https://livestream.com/uol/events/8038731/videos/171315780

Some information here

https://www.city.ac.uk/events/2018/march/richard-barrett

In the book he says it was inspired by a sort of polyphony he discovered in Stockhausen's Licht, which he calls a polyphony of time levels. But I don't understand what he's saying.

It's a fabulous bit of music this. I mean you have to be in the mood and be open to this sort of thing, but still, if you are it's full of good things. I'm not sure if it's a structured improvisation or whether it has been composed more conventionally.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2020, 06:13:11 AM »
The Opening of the Mouth

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Fb9yjh66dz4&amp;t=2s" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Fb9yjh66dz4&amp;t=2s</a>

Tracklisting with timings and some discussion

http://5against4.com/2014/11/16/richard-barrett-opening-of-the-mouth-uk-premiere/

And, amazingly, the booklet

https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/21578070/opening-mouth-booklet-08-buywell
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Richard Barrett’s Barracks
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2020, 07:03:56 AM »
Lecture at Verband für aktuelle Musik,  Hamburg

https://vimeo.com/34360413

In the book he comments that while c20 music was about taking things apart which had previously always gone together (like melody and timbre in Klangfarbenmelodie I guess), c21 music is about putting them together again in fresh ways.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 07:07:06 AM by Mandryka »
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